Salvage & Modern — Yes, it works!

Modern furniture and modern style are both super popular these days, with good reason. Simple, clean furniture and design can be classy and calming, all in one. What’s not to love?

But does modern mean new? Or can you incorporate salvage into your modern? Yes! Yes, you can mix your salvage with your modern! Let me show you some pictures for inspiration.

For the first example, check out this insane NYC loft featured on Remodelista. This is not a minimalist space, but it is modern, and the owner / architect, David Ling, created it from a 19th century building. Check out the original brick mixed with acrylic and steel. Also note that Ling used remnants of new materials left from other jobs as well as leftover shoring posts (found in the building) for furniture, stepping stones, etc. While much of this house is new material, there is salvage mixed in, and the result is unique and certainly modern.

And here’s another cool one from Remodelista – an apothecary in Hong Kong. To me the all-white bareness of this space screams modern, and the cabinets are an insane contrast to the starkness of the room. Reclaimed from an old ship, the planks were left as is, with holes and variegated texture. Could you do this? How about for your kitchen? Buy a vintage Saarinen Tulip Table and some ghost chairs, and this could be your look. FYI – hunt for the table and chairs in vintage stores or online if you are fond of the search. And who isn’t? New can be a last resort.

Now let’s dial it down a bit. Here’s a very understated apartment in San Francisco, as highlighted on SF Girl by the Bay. If you ever think you are stuck – decorating-wise – because you’re in an apartment, look what this guy, Taylor Hoff, did with wood (salvaged wood?). He added shelving, clothes rods, a platform bed. This is a very modern space. Again, the simplicity of the work makes this an open and breathable zone that is calming and serene.

May we discuss furniture for a second? Buying new is not necessary. The coolest mid-century and modern houses I’ve seen have owners who haunt used furniture stores, watch Craigslist and eBay, and have an ever-evolving home. Remember, new is just new. Used has history, a personality. If you are eager to access a story for your home and you live in Portland, start with Lounge Lizard, Rose City Modern and LookModern. FYI – looks like LookModern has Saarinen tables currently.

So what do you think? Does this make you question the equation “modern = new?” If so, go get those Saarinen tables. Get to it. Find some old wood. Have some fun.